Mayoism, a religion grown from the love of football, took root back in 1952 and has amassed a great following over the years. Worshippers believe that a great Mayo team has arrived that will reshape the GAA as we know it.
“Down here Mayo GAA is a religion not a sport. Our place of worship is the pitch not the church. Our doctrines are a lot different to the Catholic Church in that we believe in not one but 15 gods who will appear to the people on the third Sunday of September.” said Father Ciaran McDonald, head of the Crossmolina Mayoism Diocese.
The finals Mayo lost in the last five years have helped swell numbers to an estimated 642,000 (the 2011 Census lists the number of Mayo fans in Ireland at 130,638) but so too has the numbers of Dubliner’s who are now converting. Mayoism leaders here insist that as many as 500 Dubliner’s are embracing Mayoism each year. “Like me, people are looking for some sexier football and Mayo provide that,” Aisling says.
She is the founder of the Mayoism Order of Dublin – a group where like-minded Mayo fans watch matches in pubs or travel to games.
“When I converted to Mayoism, my family and friends were supportive and I would say that the majority of Dublin people have a live-and-let live attitude,” Aisling says. “But there are people on the street who think it’s OK to shout ‘culchee’ at a Mayo fan, for instance.”
She wears the Mayo head band every day and never lets a verbal attack go unanswered. “I say to them ‘I’m from Drimnagh. Where are you from?’ You should see the look on their faces. They weren’t expecting to have abused a Dublin woman.”
Like any religion Mayoism has some simple rules to stick by:
- Followers must wear green and red. Or green, or red. Not navy, pink, neon green and DEFINITELY not blue.
- Followers must carry a flag to games. Or get the kids to bring a small flag.
- Shout don’t pray. Get on your feet for the parade and make some serious noise. And keep it up throughout. Be the 16th man.
- If things aren’t going well, shout louder. Be ferocious. That’s when the lads need us most.
- Encourage the person beside you to shout too. We only have one chance to make a difference. And don’t heed anyone who tries to get you to be quiet; we’ll all be dead long enough.
- Share this gospel far and wide.
To date Mayo fans have been waiting patiently for their saviors’ with close calls recorded in their bible, the All-Ireland match day programme in 1989, 96, 97, 2004, 06, 12, 13 and 2016. They have another crack at it this coming Sunday and they firmly believe that 2017 will be their year.